Monday, June 27, 2011

Lefties, "Sarcasm" and Poe's Law

Sorry for the absence. Work is the curse of the blogging classes.

Anyway, I was commenting over at Tim's old gaff. Anyway, there is an un-reconstructed leftie polluting that place who calls himself "Arnald". Anyway, he made some wild protestation (completely misunderstanding reality) and, when called on it, declared that what he had written was "sarcasm".

Now, we are talking economics there - so you have to be a very bright leftie (which isn't anywhere near being a "liberal American") to actually get the point of it - economics is a set of approximations we use to describe and try to understand human behaviour - applied sociology as it were. It isn't a description of how we would like to run a perfect moral society. Which is where the "People's Princess" and Richard Murphy go horribly wrong. You can change the laws to (try to) mold people's behaviour, drink driving for example - but the (not particularly precriptive) laws we use to estimate the wider aspects of behaviour aren't amenable to fiat change.

So we come to a fairly simply Poe's law derivative. Is there any way that you can tell, in a leftie pronouncement on economics, whether they are being either sarcastic or serious but mistaken?

Added: And, to cap it all, the "Most Ignorant Man in Norfolk", declares that his stupidity is actually "tongue in cheek" and then repeatedly describes it as "irony". H/t to Christie.
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